12 of December's best book releases for a cosy winter's night

Caroline Allen
These are the new releases to read this December.

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December is our favourite cosy month of the year. Yes, the nights are drawing in, but there’s no better time to sit under a blanket and devour a good book.

Each of December’s 12 best book releases will leave you whiling away the hours in the most relaxed way possible.

We’ve got everything from the hotly anticipated Spy by best-selling author Danielle Steel to the beautifully written Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Make yourself a steaming mug of tea, bury yourself under the covers and get ready to pick your Christmas read.

1. Hysteria by LJ Ross | 10 December 2019

This book is one of the most pre-ordered on Amazon right now. [Photo: Amazon]

A really gripping mystery writer can be hard to come by but LJ Ross continues to deliver. You may recognise her work from the best selling DCI Ryan series which sold 4 million copies worldwide.

LJ Ross’ thrillers are always relatable, and we particularly liked that this was set at Paris Fashion Week, where the world’s top models were turning up dead; a mystery only Alexander Gregory could crack.

The book forms part of the Alexander Gregory ‘Thrillers’ series, although you don’t have to read Imposter or Borderlands to feel at home reading this novel. Both books are wonderful, though. Imposter, particularly, is a great winter read set in the idyllic Irish hills of County Mayo.

2. Spy by Danielle Steel | 12 December 2019

This WWII historical fiction is such a great book to read with the rain lashing outside. [Photo: Amazon]

What strikes us every time we read a Danielle Steel book is her versatility. Each of her books read like that of a different author, and yet, there’s that familiarity in her style which keeps you coming back for more.

This WWII fiction follows the life of a British aristocrat and the ways she was affected when war hit the UK. As is the way with many of Danielle Steel’s books, it’s fast-paced and will keep you turning the pages long after you planned to.

3. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens | 12 December 2019

A poignant book and an unforgettable read. [Photo: Amazon]

This book has been out in America for a while and it has been on our radar since it was part of Reese Witherspoon’s book club. Now, it’s finally coming out in paperback for the UK and we’re thrilled.

It has already sold 4 million copies, which is astounding for a debut novel. It’s technically a murder mystery, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a coming of age tale and a celebration of the world around us all mashed into one beautifully written novel.

It’s about a girl who lives in the marshes of North Carolina, finding friends in seagulls and lessons in the world around her.

4. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides | 12 December 2019

This book is one of our favourite psychological thrillers of the year. [Photo: Amazon]

There’s a lot of thriller and mystery books being released in December and The Silent Patient is our top pick. It’s a debut by author, Alex Michaelides, and it’s not a typical psychological thriller in the same vein as, say, Gone Girl.

We’d describe it as more of a psychological profiling. It’s less about the pace and suspense and more about the careful and methodical way Michaelides builds his character.

It centres around Alicia Berenson, a woman who was living a seemingly normal life until she shot her husband in the head five years ago and has since refused to speak.

5. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell | 12 December 2019

A must-read with so many twists. [Photo: Amazon]

From the first page we were hooked. If you’ve got a lazy day planned over the Christmas break, this is the type of novel you could read in a day.

In a rather expensive house in Chelsea, London, a happy baby is sitting in its cot waiting to be fed. In the kitchen, there are three corpses that have been dead for three days. The question is, who has been looking after the baby?

It makes us shiver just sharing the plot and we guarantee you’ll be on the edge of your seats throughout.

6. Ali Cross by James Patterson | 12 December 2019

A stocking filler for any young adults in your family. [Photo: Amazon]

Ali Cross is a great introduction to thriller reading for young adults. It’ll make the best Christmas present for anybody in your family who fits the bill.

It’s about Ali Cross, the son of detective Alex Cross, who is determined to follow in his footsteps. When Ali’s best friend goes missing, he wants to get involved in the case.

James Patterson is one of the most successful authors of all time and his selection of books for young readers are such a treat.

7. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover | 10 December 2019

A gorgeous must-read for all mums and daughters. [Photo: Amazon]

You may remember Colleen Hoover for her brilliant 2016 best seller, It Ends With Us or 2017’s Without Merit.

She’s back in a big way with a book about first loves and the complexities of the relationship between mum and daughter.

Morgan Grant and her 16-year-old daughter, Clara, don’t want to be alike. Morgan’s husband is holding the family together, but after he’s involved in an accident, they have to rethink their whole family dynamic.

8. The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim | 1 December 2019

A cool read for anybody working in the creative industry. [Photo: Amazon]

Gene Kim, who first wrote The Phoenix Projects, is back with a book about developers and engineers. It looks at the way the technology industry operates and we’re sure it’ll leave many people sympathising with the characters.

You do have to be a bit of a tech geek to enjoy this, but if you are, you’ll quickly develop a kinship with the characters and marvel at Gene Kim’s flawless and experienced writing style.

The story follows Maxine, who is caught up in corporate bureaucracy. When she’s approached by a bunch of misfits who want to overthrow the current set up, she can’t help but see a better way of doing things.

9. The Midwives Of Lark Lane by Pam Howes | 13 December 2019

A look at life directly after World War II. [Photo: Amazon]

We love books set around WWII and Pam Howes is a master at writing about this era with authenticity and emotion. Her Lark Lane series which began with The Factory Girls Of Lark Lane is a wonderful read if you like TV shows like Call The Midwife.

Cathy is coming out of the heartbreak of World War II, but after a miscarriage and the prison escape from her abusive step-father, she’s not finding much reprieve.

It’s a heart-warming story about love and friendship. It has a touch of Jojo Moyes’ Giver Of Stars about it, which is one of our favourite books of the year.

10. Lighting The Sky by Katharine E. Smith | 9 December 2019

The fifth book in the series. [Photo: Amazon]

The Coming Back To Cornwall series is a really nice selection of books if you’re looking to indulge in a series over the Christmas break.

Like a boxset, whenever you don’t want a book to end, you’re always safe in the knowledge there’s still another one to read and with Lighting The Sky as the fifth book, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.

The book is about the trials and tribulations of family life in Cornwall and Devon. It has a particularly poignant focus on new beginnings, perfect to read just before the end of the decade.

11. You, Me, Forever by Jo Watson | 3 December 2019

The book we all just need at this time of year. [Photo: Amazon]

Most rom-com books tend to come out just before the summer, so we were delighted to see this one wasn’t following suit.

After all, there’s no better time to curl up with a good rom-com than in the winter. We particularly loved this book because there’s something quite Paige Toon-esque about it and it’s everything you could possibly need in a rom-com.

When Becca discovers a collection of love letters hidden in the lining of her vintage bag, she’s compelled to find out who they belong to.

12. The Girls In The Lake by Helen Phifer | 9 December 2019

The final thriller of December's selection. [Photo: Amazon]

We know a lot of people enjoyed the first of Helen Phifer’s Beth Adams books, so we had to mention the second in the crime thriller series.

It follows Beth Adams a forensic pathologist. This time she has been called to Lake Windermere where the body of a young student has been found.

With witnesses keeping tight lipped and then another body being discovered, it’s a fast-paced addictive read from start to finish.